Kyle Busch earned his third win of the season in Saturday night's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) race at Richmond International Raceway. Busch earned his 15th career NSCS victory on his 24th birthday and became only the second driver in NASCAR...
Kyle Busch earned his third win of the season in Saturday night's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) race at Richmond International Raceway.
Busch earned his 15th career NSCS victory on his 24th birthday and became only the second driver in NASCAR history to earn a Cup win on his birthday (Cale Yarborough 1977, 1983).
The win marks Toyota's third NSCS victory of 2009 and 13th win since joining NSCS competition in 2007.
Camry drivers Marcos Ambrose (11th), Denny Hamlin (11th) and Brian Vickers (15th) also recorded top-15 finishes.
Camry drivers led 222 of 400 laps in the 300-mile race -- Hamlin led a race-high 148 laps, Busch led 53 laps and Vickers led 21 laps.
Other Toyota drivers in the field included Robby Gordon (16th), Joey Logano (20th), Michael Waltrip (24th), David Reutimann (28th), Scott Speed (33rd), Jeremy Mayfield (35th), Joe Nemechek (40th), Scott Riggs (42nd) and Dave Blaney (43rd).
Five Camry drivers are in the top-20 in the unofficial NNS driver points -- Hamlin (fourth), Busch (fifth), Reutimann (13th), Vickers (16th) and Ambrose (19th).
KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 Combos Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Finishing Position: 1st
How do you keep winning week after week? "This is a phenomenal team right here. They never give up. We've had four bad weeks and we knew we had to get back on track somehow. I really want to thank Combos, M&M's, Interstate Batteries, Toyota, thank the fans for coming out tonight -- it's my birthday. I know they were all supporting me on May 2 for my birthday tonight and we pulled out a win for them. I've got to thank Marquis Jets, DirecTV, Gillette, and of course Sprint for being here. It was an awesome night , man, it's just so exciting for me. I know this is another big win this year. I hope the team enjoys it as much as I do and I've got to thank NOS again. It's amazing and so cool."
How do you win with so many different teams? "I don't know. You've got to give feedback and I just keep telling the guys what's wrong with it. This car wasn't perfect all night. It was good, but it wasn't perfect. I knew that when we had practice. I kept telling Steve (Addington, crew chief), 'Man, it doesn't feel bad, it's not perfect, but we just can't get this much more out of it.' Steve (Addington) made the right call there on when to pit and when to take four tires versus two tires or no tires or whatever, and it really paid off for us there at the end to be able to have that long run there like that and not have to deal with the 14 (Tony Stewart) or the 31 (Jeff Burton). I knew they were coming."
How happy are you to get this victory on your birthday? "This is an awesome win for us. It's really exciting to come out here tonight and not only win on my birthday but to have the team guys enjoy it as much I do. We struggled for four weeks. It's been a struggle for us and we didn't finish the way we wanted to but we made it happen here tonight and I'm real proud of these guys. It was a whole team effort."
What was the last run like on old tires? "That's exactly what we needed. We needed to get out and get a long run and those guys had to chase us back down and they couldn't really catch us. It really worked out. Steve (Addington, crew chief) made a great race call there on when to pit and when to take more tires and we were able to stay out front from there on out and made the most of the effort there. Fortunately, it was a long run. I was hoping we wouldn't see another caution out. This is just so cool. I didn't think we could do it. I knew we had a good car not a great car but all you've got to do is hang around with a good car and let the race fall your way."
Where does a win at Richmond rank for you? "It's always been up there and to finally get one here, I've been so close so many times but never have been able to get a win here. This is pretty cool. I'm so excited to win here. You never know what can happen coming into a weekend and this weekend was pretty special."
STEVE ADDINGTON, Crew Chief, No. 18 Combos Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Can you talk about Kyle's performance tonight? "It was a great performance. Just very nerve-wracking. He gave me a win on my birthday in Daytona last year, so I got him a win for his birthday tonight at Richmond."
Was something smoking on the car at one point? "With our cars, when you decel (decelerate) in the center of the corner, they smoke out the exhaust pipes on the short tracks. That was going on. Everybody was freaking out over brakes smoking. I was trying to figure out what they were talking about. They had it on the TV monitor and saw it, so we weren't really concerned, it wasn't a big concern for us.
JOE GIBBS, Team Owner, Joe Gibbs Racing
Do you feel for Denny Hamlin after he led so many laps on his home track and wasn't able to come up with the win? "I think Kyle (Busch) last night said it best when he won in Nationwide. We only had two cars in Nationwide last night, and I feel bad, and I told him today, that I feel bad he wasn't able to race the Nationwide Series with us because we only have two cars. I know how much it means to him. Kyle (Busch) said it last night. Kyle knows that, too. This is a place where he'd love to win one. He's been real, real good here. He loves this place. Hopefully at some point he's going to get one. I know at this point he's really disappointed now."
What happened to cause Denny Hamlin to lose the lead during the race after leading so many laps? "We had a horrible pit stop. We dropped two lug nuts, I think, and it really cost us there, shuffling in the back. Then I think on a restart, when everybody kind of accordioned up there, I think he hit the front pretty good. Car started running a little bit hot. I think we also got the left fender in it. I haven't had a chance to talk to him, but I think that's probably what cost us."
MARCOS AMBROSE, No. 47 Bush's Best Baked Beans Toyota Camry, JTG-Daugherty Racing
Finishing Position: 11th
How was your race? "It was a long night -- really long. I thought it was never going to end. We had a good piece. The sun went down and we lost the handle on the car. We got damaged with a spin and a crash and we had to fight our way back through. Really proud of our team to bounce back. We'll take 11th-place. One spot more would have been fantastic. We got to be happy with that. We're doing it every week. I'm thrilled. Even though it's a tough night we had a decent finish."
DENNY HAMLIN, No. 11 FedEx Ground Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Finishing Position: 14th
MIKE FORD, Crew Chief, No. 11 FedEx Ground Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
How good was your car tonight? "We needed track position. When we got in traffic, we didn't work in traffic as well as we needed to. I don't think we had as good a car as everybody thought or we would have been able to make some of that up, and we didn't. If you're going to get a bad one -- that was the time not to have one. That was the exact time in the race where people start setting up for the end. That's when you don't want to give up the track positions at that point in the race -- and we couldn't get it back."
Did your car just handle better when leading the field? "Yeah. You saw when we got in traffic we didn't really move forward. If we could run laps, no one could pass you. With these cars it's so close -- track position is everything. We couldn't make any ground. It ended a major, major mistake that you couldn't rebound from."
Is there anything positive you can take from this race? "We've been in contention to win this race every time we've been here. You don't take anything out of it other than frustration. That's about it."
Can you put this race behind you? "No. As a competitor you can't let it go. You try and dig in and work a little harder next week. You can say you put it behind, but you never put it behind."
ROBBY GORDON, No. 7 Toyota Camry, Robby Gordon Motorsports
Finishing Position: 16th
JOEY LOGANO, No. 20 Home Depot Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Finishing Position: 19th
How did your car handle during the race? "We started off decent. I couldn't turn without every time I'd get the car to rotate in the center I'd get loose off. I just couldn't find a happy medium in it. We had one of the best runs going that we had since probably Vegas besides the Talladega thing and I felt like I had a shot at a top-10 there. Just that final lap pit stop thing always gets you, always. Everyone worked hard and did a great job. I'm happy about the way we ran and how we could run better but I think we'll be better the next time we come here. Learned a lot of stuff, what we need to do to our car next time, what I need to do in practice and hopefully get better."
MICHAEL WALTRIP, No. 55 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing
Finishing Position: 24th
DAVID REUTIMANN, No. 00 Aaron's Dream Machine Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing
Finishing Position: 28th
How was your car during the race? "We kind of struggled a little bit. We couldn't really get any better. We got it a little bit better and a little bit better. I got to a point where I felt we could run in the top-10 --and we got run over and wrecked and tore the car up. We were done pretty much at that point. We didn't have the best car, but we adjusted on it to where we could have run in the top-10 or top-12. We kind of got that taken away from us -- so we're disappointed."
JEREMY MAYFIELD, No. 41 Small Sponsor.com Toyota Camry, Jeremy Mayfield Motorsports
Finishing Position: 35th
JOE NEMECHEK, No. 87 Toyota Camry, NEMCO Motorsports
Finishing Position: 40th
SCOTT RIGGS, No. 36 Toyota Camry, Tommy Baldwin Racing
Finishing Position: 42nd
DAVE BLANEY, No. 66 Toyota Camry, Prism Motorsports
Finishing Position: 43rd
-credit: toyota motorsports